Many more people under-promote themselves on their resumes than the reverse. They leave their most significant accomplishments off their resumes, because they are afraid to claim them.
Why would anybody hesitate to claim their professional accomplishments? In this list of ten things, you didn’t know you can claim on your resume, you’ll see why talented people so often understate their own career histories.
1 You can claim any project you were part of, even if your manager was not aware of your participation or would not have approved the time and energy you spent on the project. This is one reason many people don’t claim their most exciting projects. They don’t claim them because they didn’t have their manager’s full support for the project.
2 You can claim any good idea that you came up with, especially if you had to ‘sell’ the idea to upper management. Make sure to call out that accomplishment in your resume, like this: “I conceived of our new pricing scheme and sold the idea internally for six months before it was adopted and then expanded to include all seven regions.” Yes, you can use the word “I” in your resume, and you should!
3 You can claim work that you performed on a volunteer basis or when you were consulting with a friend for free.
4 You can claim work that you performed as a favour to a colleague.
5 You can claim accomplishments that were not part of your official job description. Here’s another reason many people fail to take credit for their triumphs. They keep their coolest accomplishments off their resume because those wins were not in their job description.
6 You can claim everything you learned at work, whether you learned it in a classroom, online, or from another employee. On-the-job training is just as good as instructor-led training, if not better!
7 You can claim the leadership of a task or project if it is true. It doesn’t matter whether anyone appointed you the group leader, or whether you just took on that role naturally.
8 You can claim wins that didn’t show success while you were working for the company, but only bore fruit later. It’s still your win! People work on cathedrals for hundreds of years before the cathedral is finished. Every one of those people is part of the triumph when the cathedral doors open.
9 You can claim projects that you worked on that never came to fruition. It’s still tremendous learning for you.
10 Finally, you can claim responsibilities that were in someone else’s job description,
as long as you actually carried out the responsibilities.
Once you have made plans to leave an employer or once you are gone, no one inside that organization has anything to say about what’s on your resume. You only need to know that everything you write on your resume is true, and you need to be able to answer questions about everything you claim.